Jeremy Corbyn revealed to have met Yasser Arafat in 2002 at Intifada's height

The then-backbencher praised the Palestinian leader as terror attacks against Israelis were being authorised


Jeremy Corbyn travelled to the West Bank to meet Yasser Arafat at the height of the Intifada in 2002, it has been revealed.

The then-backbencher said Arafat gave a "very strong message of defiance" in his Ramallah compound, investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin noted as he revealed the news.

In a write-up for Socialist Campaign Group News after the event, Mr Corbyn said: "Meeting with President Arafat was almost surreal.

"We entered the building down a corridor lined with sandbags, beyond which lay piles of broken and burnt vehicles as a result of Israeli bombardment, and machine gun strafings which had damaged most of the surrounds.

"Arafat himself seemed focused and precise in what he had to say, giving a very strong message of defiance of the blockade, despite the arrival of an incoming message — whilst we were there — that Israeli tanks had re-entered Ramallah and were one kilometre away from his office.

"The strategy of Ariel Sharon appears to be to destroy, by bombardment and humiliation, all the authority of the elected Palestinian government and impose a sort of Bantustan solution, as in South Africa in the early 1960s.

"The crying need has to be for an immediate, total, and unconditional Israeli withdrawal, and recognition of an independent Palestinian state."

He added he had visited East Jerusalem, Gaza and Nablus on the same trip "part of the ongoing campaign for peace".

"Many of the significant sites I have visited are now little more than rubble, while others are up and running once again, in defiance of Israel’s attempt to disable Palestine," he wrote.

Mr Ostanin noted that, at the time, Mr Arafat had authorised many suicide bombings against Israelis.

According to the confession of Palestinian paramilitary leader Marwan Barghouti, who was arrested in 2002, Mr Arafat personally signed off on funds that were used by militant group Al-Aqsa Brigades to carry out terror attacks in the West Bank.

The confession of another arrested man, Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti, said the group carried out suicide bombings "with the knowledge of Yasser Arafat".

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